Dakota Games Draws Athletes From Around the World

This is the sixth year the competition has been held in Fargo

FARGO, N.D. — It’s not just what we love that seems to unite us with one another.

It’s also what makes us want to scream from pain.

“Those rope climbs, it’s a whole different movement than yesterday but they’re awful. We all talk and giggle and we all know we’re all in it together and all suffering,” said Makenzie Meade, who’s competing in the “She-Hulks” team from Wyoming.

For the nearly 700 athletes at Scheels Arena this weekend, it wasn’t about to get a whole lot easier either.

“They’re doing some what we call ‘thrusters.’ Crossfit combines different elements of weight training, weight lifting, gymnastics, body weight movements and cardio. So they kind of have a whole array of challenges that they face,” said Dakota Games director Jessica Grondahl.

She says the competition started six years ago as a way to give Crossfitters in the area something to look forward to and train for every year.

But it’s always seemed to draw both national and international support ever since.

“We have athletes from all over the country. We have athletes from the Dominican Republic, Canada, they’re coming from all over to Fargo, North Dakota,” Grondahl said.

While the competition may get tough some of these competitors say they can’t imagine a world without the sport after it changed their lives in unexpected ways.

“I got a lot more fit, I learned about nutrition, how to take better care of myself and just feel better every day,” Meade said.

That even includes the relationships made along the way.

“It’s introduced me to some of the best people in the world. My two teammates are some of my best friends. Everyone in our gym is awesome,” Meade said.

“If you equate it to how people move to a new town and they have a certain religion and they go to their church and they’re automatically welcome, Crossfit is very like that. You walk into a Crossfit gym in any town and even if you’re visiting, they already treat you like you’re a part of the family,” said Chris Maclean, competing from Winnipeg.

Dakota Games used to be held at the Southwest Youth Arena and then Veterans Memorial Arena.

This year, athletes also competed at the Hulbert Aquatic Center in West Fargo.

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